Why Gay Men Should Care About the Politics of Vaginas
Have you heard about the Japanese artist who was arrested for making the data of a 3D image of her vagina available for download to the people who helped make the project possible?
She wanted to make a kayak using the shape. Isn’t that lovely? The police, who later arrested her on obscenity charges, tended not to agree.
Or how about the British artist whose painting was removed from a London gallery because it showed a hint of the female subject’s pubic hair? Apparently it was pornographic and disgusting.
If you yourself are female or have a vagina, you’re quite likely to be offended by the attack on female genitalia as something obscene, grotesque or unsightly, and justifiably so.
Unfortunately, it’s just another example of the prevailing patriarchy that has tried, throughout history and across many cultures to suppress women, their vaginas and ownership of their own bodies with damaging messages that female sexuality as being dirty, dangerous or debased.
Now, there’s also a very good argument to be made that straight or bisexual men (or at least men who have sex with women or individuals with vaginas) should also be offended by such things. The subjugation of women and their vaginas affects the men they have sex with too.
For example, take the debate in the US on whether health insurance companies should cover birth control or not, a debate which was largely motivated by the misogynistic views of old white men.
Birth control has been branded as a women’s issue, but if you’re a man who likes having sex with women and not having to worry about the possibility of becoming a father right afterwards, it’s working in your advantage too!
Women without ownership of their bodies means fewer women who’ll be willing to have sex with such men.
But why should gay men, or men who don’t have sex with women care about women, their vaginas and the politics surrounding the whole thing?
Well, for one thing, it’s just plain human decency to want equality for all, regardless of what genitals someone has. We can’t expect to get equality for gay and bi people if we don’t also support gender equality, whether that be from a cisgender or transgender point of view.
Misogyny is a complex beast. It manifests itself in many ways, one of which is the bullying, discrimination and debasement of men who are ‘not masculine enough’, something which unfortunately often affects gay men.
I’m outraged by the two stories mentioned at the top of this article. You should be too. Equality for all means equality for all genitalia too.
As a gay man, you may not want to go in or near them, but we all need to embrace and stand up for the vaginas of the world, because once vagina-owners are truly liberated, we’ll be one step closer to the true equality we all hope for.
All images courtesy of Dinah Guilfoyle.